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Netizens share ‘dehumanising’ stories as Google, other orgs begin mass layoffs

The Google sign on a wall outside one of the company's buildings in the 'Silicon Docks' area of central Dublin. (Bloomberg)Premium
The Google sign on a wall outside one of the company's buildings in the 'Silicon Docks' area of central Dublin. (Bloomberg)

The layoffs - as recounted by the former employees on social media - tell a somewhat sordid and dehumanising tale. Some found themselves informed via email amidst maternity leave or while travelling for business trips. Others discovered that they were no longer a part of the company as they tried to enter the office building.

As the economy slows down, tens of thousands of workers have been made redundant by some of the world's biggest firms. The layoffs - as recounted by the former employees on social media - tell a somewhat sordid and dehumanising tale. Some found themselves informed via impersonal emails amidst maternity leave or while travelling for business trips. Others discovered that they were no longer a part of the company as they tried to enter the office building in the morning.

“It's hard for me to believe that after 20 years at Google I unexpectedly find out about my last day via an email. What a slap in the face. I wish I could have said goodbye to everyone face to face," tweeted software engineer Jeremy Joslin.

“It is like a breakup via text" commiserated another Twitter user, adding that he was facing a similar situation.

Going by the abundance of posts online, many were not even aware they no longer had jobs until their access to various systems were cut off.

“I found out because I woke up to my phone sending me a notification that my phone service would be shut off soon. And all my corporate account stuff was locked out. Saw the email later," recounted one user.

“You haven't lived until you've woken up in an Airbnb on a work trip to an email from the CEO announcing layoffs that will go into effect in the next 15 minutes," said journalist Anne Victoria Clark. While a later update indicated that she had retained her job, others were less lucky.

Former YouTube employee Kimberly Diaz said that she was laid off during a client business trip this month, mere hours after meeting with top members of the company - including the CMO. In a TikTok video she recounted how she had gotten up at 6 am to put finishing touches on a presentation and discovered that she was essentially ‘locked out’.

“My colleague was kind enough to share her credit card with me so that I could change my flight and get home as soon as possible," Diaz adds.

"I was laid off from Vox.com last Friday with the entire visuals team while on vacation," said one Twitter user.

"Vox just laid me off. 15 minutes notice," read a brief update from fellow journalist Nate Wilcox.

For those who missed out on checking their phones and emails on the day of layoffs, there was a far ruder awakening in store. Some Google employees had even driven to work the next day before discovering they were officially unemployed (as their building passes failed to turn ‘green’).

The laid off staffers also included women on maternity leave. Program manager Katherine Wong said recently that she was let go - a week before maternity leave started - in spite of a “positive performance review". As she noted, it was “almost impossible" for her to find a new job while 34 weeks pregnant and heading into maternity leave for months.

“The first thought that came to my mind was 'Why me? Why now?'. It was hard to process and digest, especially the news that came after a positive performance review. As a PgM, my first instinct was to make a plan, but clearly this is one of the most difficult projects I have ever handled as the timing is really bad," Wong wrote on LinkedIn.

Another individual wrote about how her sister had been laid off while on unpaid maternity leave, two days after giving birth.

“I am furious for my other talented colleagues, worried for myself, and very tired, as I am on maternity leave and am having trouble processing emotions other than 'baby'," recounted Emily St James who was laid off "after a long tenure at Vox.

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